Underpainting – why I hammer it home…

There are many reasons why you might want to do an underpainting for a project you are doing with oils. Here are the reasons that I feel are pertinent to having an underpainting and giving it that creative edge.

Underpainting! Yes, I said underpainting – again.

I cannot say often enough, how I feel about having an underpainting when you are creating your artistic endeavors. Feeling passionate about this subject I have decided to clarify a few things… I have decided to write on this subject one more time in the hopes of enlightenment.

WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF HAVING AN UNDERPAINTING?


There are many reasons why you might want to do an underpainting for a project you are doing with oils. Here are the reasons that I feel are pertinent to having an underpainting and giving it that creative edge.

  • Establishes the overall composition and values of your painting.
    • An underpainting can help you visualize the overall composition and to establish the relative values of light and dark. This can help if you are struggling to get started on a painting or if you are not sure how to proceed.
  • Creates a sense of depth and atmosphere.
    • An underpainting can help create a sense of depth and atmosphere in your painting. Since it establishes the basic light and shadow patterns of the painting, which can then be built upon with layers of color and detail.
    • When I use the term atmosphere, I refer to the illusion of depth and the perception of distance or perspective. The color of objects changes as they recede into the distance. This is due to the way that light is absorbed and scattered by the atmosphere.
    • Values refer to the lightness or darkness of a color. As objects move closer to the forefront of your painting they appear more vibrant (color) and to have more contrast. This is due to the atmosphere scattering light more evenly as it travels further away making objects less distinct.
    • Did you know that Texture can also be used to create the illusion of depth? With more texture and detail, it appears closest to the viewer. I prefer to use texture more at the finishing stages of my paintings, with only a suggestion in the underpainting itself.
  • Underpainting saves time and paint.
    •  An underpainting can help you to save time and paint when you are working with oils. Who doesn’t want to save money? We can do this because the underpainting provides a foundation for your painting, allowing it to be built upon with thinner layers of paint. This can help to prevent the paint from drying too quickly and to create a smoother, more even finish.

WHAT HAPPENS WITHOUT AN UNDERPAINTING?

Without an underpainting, it can be difficult to establish the overall composition and values of the painting. This is because you are essentially starting with a blank canvas and trying to create a realistic scene from scratch. This can be a daunting task, and it can be easy to make mistakes.

Without underpainting, it can be difficult to create a sense of depth and atmosphere. This is because the underpainting can help to establish the basic light and shadow patterns of the painting, which can then be built upon with layers of color and detail which can be difficult without having the underpainting.

Without underpainting, you may use more paint than necessary. This is because you will be trying to build up the values and colors of the painting from scratch. Using underpainting can help you to save paint by providing a foundation for your painting.

ADDITIONAL TIPS FOR USING AN UNDERPAINTING

  • Choose the right type of paint. 
    • Oil paints are the most common choice for underpainting, but you can also use acrylics or watercolors.
  • Thin the paint with a solvent or medium. 
    • This will help the paint to flow more easily and to create a smoother finish.
  • Apply the paint in thin layers. 
    • This will help to prevent the paint from drying too quickly and to create a more even finish.
  • Experiment with different colors and values. 
    • This is a great way to find the right look for your painting.

UNDERPAINTING COMPARISON WITH AND WITHOUT

See these two prime examples by world renowned artists!

The painting on the left has a much more realistic and atmospheric feel to it than the painting on the right. This is because the underpainting in Rembrandt’s painting helped him to establish the overall composition and values of the painting, as well as the basic light and shadow patterns. This foundation allowed Rembrandt to build up the colors and details of the painting in a more controlled and deliberate way.

Van Gogh’s painting was painted directly on the canvas, without any underpainting, or layering. It resulted in a painting that is more sketchy and less finished. The lack made it difficult for Van Gogh to create a sense of depth and atmosphere in his painting.

Overall, this comparison shows that underpainting can be a valuable tool for any artist who is working with oils, acrylics, or watercolors. This helps create more realistic and atmospheric paintings, save time and paint, and experiment with different techniques and color schemes.

CONCLUSION

I hope I have provided enough clarity to convince you that underpainting is a valuable contribution to your painting. I feel it is especially important if you wish to make it memorable for all who view it.

Hopefully, this information helps you to choose if you wish to use this method for your painting. I am so looking forward to hearing your thoughts and suggestions if you have them.

Hugs my friends,

Angela

Underpainting - Hammering home the importance 
www.artentwined.com

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